Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa

Tuesday, December 13, 2022, 12:25 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

(Video) Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI
This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remark

Visit to Japan by the Foreign Minister of Georgia

Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: At the outset, I have one announcement.

From December 14 to 16, Foreign Minister Darchiashvili of Georgia plans to visit Japan upon invitation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On December 15, he and I will hold a foreign ministers’ meeting and working dinner, and plan to have a candid exchange of views regarding bilateral relations and international affairs.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Georgia. Japan shares fundamental values with Georgia, and Georgia is our partner toward building a free and open international order based on the rule of law. Through Foreign Minister Darchiashvili’s visit to Japan, we will further strengthen Japan-Georgia relations, and also further deepen bilateral cooperation based on the current international affairs, including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

That is all from me.

Japan-Russia Relations (Operations of Japanese Fishing Boats in the Waters Near the Four Northern Islands)

Hokkaido Shimbun, Tamamura: I would like to ask about the safe operations of Japanese fishing boats in the waters near the Four Northern Islands. The consultation between Japan and Russia to determine next year’s operations details has not yet been held.

Please tell us the outlook on entering into negotiations.

Minister Hayashi: With regard to the negotiations based on the Framework Agreement Concerning Operations in the Waters Around the Four Northern Islands, including consultations on the operation conditions and other such matters of Japanese fishing boats next year, we are currently coordinating the schedule with the Russian side while cooperating with relevant ministries and agencies.

The Admission of the African Union (AU) into the G20, Japan’s Support for Africa

Sankei Shimbun, Hiroike: I would like to ask about Africa. President Biden of the United States plans to soon announce his support for the AU’s participation in the G20. Please tell us the Government of Japan’s reaction on this. Japan has also been providing support for Africa through TICAD. Please tell us again the significance of providing support for Africa.

Minister Hayashi: First, the AU is the world’s largest regional organization, with participation by various countries and regions of Africa. In recent years, the AU has been promoting cross-regional initiatives for Africa’s peace and stability, COVID-19 countermeasures, and economic recovery. The AU has also been playing a growing role in the international community, including the formation of a unified African position on matters such as United Nations Security Council reform.

Due to the importance of the AU, Japan is positively considering the possibility of the AU’s admission as a G20 member.

Furthermore, with regard to support for Africa, it is said that Africa will account for one-quarter of the global population in 2050.Africa is a young, hopeful continent with dynamic growth potential.

As Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and other events continue to undermine the foundations of the international community, it becomes more important than ever for the international community to make concerted responses. Amidst this, the importance of Africa is becoming more important in the international community, and I believe it is necessary to promote cooperation with various African countries.

Since the establishment of TICAD in 1993, Japan has been working with a spirit of having Japan support African-led development for about 30 years. During TICAD8 this year as well, which I attended as the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Kishida, we promoted quintessentially Japanese approaches as a “partner growing together with Africa, focusing on people.” This message was strongly conveyed at TICAD8. In addition, I held many bilateral meetings and had exchanges of views regarding bilateral cooperation as well as various issues of the international community.

We would like to further strengthen Japan-Africa relations by having Japan contribute to realize a resilient Africa that Africa itself aims to achieve, based on the results of TICAD8.

Japan’s Support for Ukraine

NHK, Iwasawa: I would like to ask about support for Ukraine. Last month, the Government of Japan decided to provide generators through Emergency Grant Aid as support for Ukraine, which is facing electricity shortages. I would like to ask about the status of the provision after that. Prime Minister Kishida also announced that Japan will provide further support to Ukraine, including assistance for enduring the winter, at the G7 Summit Meeting held this month. Please tell us the status of consideration for that, including the specific content of the support and other such details.

Minister Hayashi: Up to now, Japan has announced and sequentially implemented humanitarian, financial, and food-related support, including assistance for enduring the winter, to Ukraine as well as relevant countries that have been affected by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

On November 22, the Government of Japan decided to extend Emergency Grant Aid of approximately $2.57 million for the provision of generators and solar lanterns through UNHCR as support in Ukraine’s electric power sector for enduring the winter. Currently, we are proceeding with installing the generators at facilities such as schools and hospitals, and sequentially distributing the solar lanterns to households through the Ukrainian authorities and NGOs.

In addition to this, as you just mentioned, during the G7 Leaders’ Video Conference, Prime Minister Kishida announced that Japan has decided to extend support of approximately $500 million for Ukraine and its surrounding countries as part of the new supplementary budget. Specifically, in cooperation with international organizations and others, we will implement necessary support, such as further assistance for enduring the winter, including the provision of shelter, heaters, generators, and other items. We are currently coordinating with relevant organizations from Ukraine as well as various international organizations and others. We will quickly implement this support.

Source of Funding for Strengthening Defense Capabilities

Kyodo News, Kinashi: I would like to ask about increasing the defense budget. Prime Minister Kishida indicated that there will be considerations on increasing taxes as a source of funding for the increased defense budget. Some ministers have objected to this. There are many different opinions within the party with regard to tax increases. What do you believe is appropriate to use as a source of funding for the increased defense budget? Please tell us.

Minister Hayashi: I would like you to inquire with the Minister of Finance, the minister in charge of this matter, with regard to securing funding for strengthening defense capabilities.

In addition, with regard to tax system measures to strengthen defense capabilities, I am aware that discussions are currently being held by the ruling parties’ Research Commission on the Tax System. I would like to refrain from commenting from my position.

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